Chaos during kabeljou run

An earlier kabeljou run coupled with a large numbers of anglers had fishing inspectors overwhelmed and many anglers breaking the law.

02 January 2019 | Ministries

This year's so-called kabeljou run has begun significantly earlier than usual and has caused chaos among surf anglers. Large numbers of kabeljou (kob) have been caught north of Henties Bay since Christmas and there is little control.

For more than a week fishing inspectors along Namibia's central coast have been overwhelmed by the sheer number of surf anglers.

“We have issued many fines because quite a few surf anglers did not follow the rules, but we could not be everywhere,” says chief fisheries inspector Rosalia Mupetami.

This year's kabeljou run is unusual in a number of ways. Usually, large kabeljou migrate south in January or February to spawn in sheltered bays and estuaries, most importantly Sandwich Harbour.

To protect the resource, fishing at popular angling spots like Paaltjies near Walvis Bay is limited at the beginning of the year.

This season, the first kabeljou run was announced before Christmas at Solitude and Henties Bay.

“In the 21 years I've been fishing on the coast, I've never experienced anything like that,” said an angler at Henties Bay.

Many fish have been caught at Mile 68, Mile 72 and the fishing spots known as Tolla se Gat and Sarah se Gat over the last week.

“We set up a mobile roadblock north of Henties Bay and caught several anglers who exceeded the daily bag limit and had too many big fish,” Mupetami said.

By law a person may only be in possession of two kabeljou larger than 70 centimetres.

However, during the kabeljou run anglers look for alternative routes through the desert to avoid the roadblock.

Mupetami was unable to say exactly how many fines had been issued. She called on the public to report incidents of overfishing in order to protect the Namibian fish resource from exploitation.

ERWIN LEUSCHNER

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